Holding high a gnarled staff wreathed with holly, an elf summons the fury of the storm and calls down explosive bolts of lightning to smite the torch-carrying orcs who threaten her forest.
Crouching out of sight on a high tree branch in the form of a leopard, a human peers out of the jungle at the strange construction of a temple of Evil Elemental Air, keeping a close eye on the cultists’ activities.
Swinging a blade formed of pure fire, a half-elf charges into a mass of skeletal soldiers, sundering the unnatural magic that gives the foul creatures the mocking semblance of life.
Whether calling on the elemental forces of nature or emulating the creatures of the animal world, druids are an embodiment of nature’s resilience, cunning, and fury. They claim no mastery over nature. Instead, they see themselves as extensions of nature’s indomitable will.
Druids revere nature above all, gaining their spells and other magical powers either from the force of nature itself or from a nature deity. Many druids pursue a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devotion to a divine entity, while others serve gods of wild nature, animals, or elemental forces. The ancient druidic traditions are sometimes called the Old Faith, in contrast to the worship of gods in temples and shrines.
Druid spells are oriented toward nature and animals—the power of tooth and claw, of sun and moon, of fire and storm. Druids also gain the ability to take on animal forms, and some druids make a particular study of this practice, even to the point where they prefer animal form to their natural form.
For druids, nature exists in a precarious balance. The four elements that make up a world—air, earth, fire, and water—must remain in equilibrium. If one element were to gain power over the others, the world could be destroyed, drawn into one of the elemental planes and broken apart into its component elements. Thus, druids oppose cults of Elemental Evil and others who promote one element to the exclusion of others.
Druids are also concerned with the delicate ecological balance that sustains plant and animal life, and the need for civilized folk to live in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it. Druids accept that which is cruel in nature, and they hate that which is unnatural, including aberrations (such as beholders and mind flayers) and undead (such as zombies and vampires). Druids sometimes lead raids against such creatures, especially when the monsters encroach on the druids’ territory.
Druids are often found guarding sacred sites or watching over regions of unspoiled nature. But when a significant danger arises, threatening nature’s balance or the lands they protect, druids take on a more active role in combating the threat, as adventurers.
When making a druid, consider why your character has such a close bond with nature. Perhaps your character lives in a society where the Old Faith still thrives, or was raised by a druid after being abandoned in the depths of a forest. Perhaps your character had a dramatic encounter with the spirits of nature, coming face to face with a giant eagle or dire wolf and surviving the experience. Maybe your character was born during an epic storm or a volcanic eruption, which was interpreted as a sign that becoming a druid was part of your character’s destiny.
Have you always been an adventurer as part of your druidic calling, or did you first spend time as a caretaker of a sacred grove or spring? Perhaps your homeland was befouled by evil, and you took up an adventuring life in hopes of finding a new home or purpose.
Druids are the caretakers of the natural world, and it is said that in time a druid becomes the voice of nature, speaking the truth that is too subtle for the general populace to hear. Many who become druids find that they naturally gravitate toward nature; its forces, cycles, and movements fill their minds and spirits with wonder and insight. Many sages and wise folk have studied nature, writing volumes about its mystery and power, but druids are a special kind of being: at some point, they begin to embody these natural forces, producing magical phenomena that link them to the spirit of nature and the flow of life. Because of their strange and mysterious power, druids are often revered, shunned, or considered dangerous by the people around them.
Your druid character might be a true worshiper of nature, one who has always scorned civilization and found solace in the wild. Or your character could be a child of the city who now strives to bring the civilized world into harmony with the wilderness. You can use the sections that follow to flesh out your druid, regardless of how your character came to the profession.
To read more about Druids: Druid – onednd (dndink.com)